Throughout the ages, men have followed the Rule of our Holy Father, St Benedict.
With eyes firmly fixed on God, they have entered into monasteries to prepare for their eternal life. They have lived in community, under authority, leaving their own will, seeking God in all things, desiring Him and Him alone.
Our Rule, given to us over one a half thousand years ago by St Benedict, gives us the means to win salvation, and get to heaven.
Monks have done different things since Our Holy Father wrote his rule. Some have been farmers, some brewers, some teachers. In our medieval English tradition, we were involved in parishes, and schools. We were the chapters of Cathedrals singing the Office around the Bishop.
In other countries, especially in France, when monks began to live the Rule again in the nineteenth century, their lives have been more contemplative, living behind the walls of the cloister. This is one valuable version of the life of a monk, but only one.
As long as the Rule is followed, and the Psalms are sung, and obedience is practiced, then our ‘work’ (so long as it is noble), should feed us and raise our minds to God.
Our monastery has only just begun. We are two monks, living the Rule. Our work is teaching the boys of Chavagnes International College, and being chaplains to the school community. But this is not the only thing that we can do as monks. We need men to work with their hands, with their minds, with their hearts. Our monastery is not one of monk schoolmasters – we are some monks who happen to teach. Our purpose is fidelity to the tradition and life of the Rule and the Church. Were monks to rise from their graves, they would join in our Office and pray at the Holy Mass, they would know who we were, and what we were doing.
I ask you to discern if this life is for you.
Is God calling you to the life of a monk in our monastery? Do you seek God in community, in obedience, in the singing of the Office, in work?
Do you desire to be a son of Saint Benedict? Not in the cloister alone, but from the cloister into the world and back again?
We live the tradition of the Church. We live in the present day, but in the robes and the Rule of the centuries past. Always new, and always old. Like the Psalms we chant, and the Holy Mass which we offer, we have no need of change. Our monastery is young, a new foundation.
Our life is old, as ancient as our Rule.
Is this your life? Is God calling you to be a monk in our tradition?
Listen to His voice, O my son,
and respond to the word of God in your heart.
Dom Bede Rowe, Prior
96 rue du Calvaire